Age and Mobility Predict Death Better Than One's "Molecular Clock"

Written by
B. Rose Huber
April 7, 2016

Advances in technology allow scientists to measure intricate details about the human body that greatly enhance understanding of health, disease and aging.

Yet, when it comes to predicting death, more rudimentary measures—like a person’s age or a person’s ability to climb stairs or walk a short distance—are much more powerful predictors of survival than certain biomarkers, according to a study published in PLOS ONE by researchers at Princeton University; Georgetown University; University of Washington; Stanford University; the University of California, Berkeley; and the Universidad de Costa Rica

Using data from the United States, Costa Rica and Taiwan, the researchers compared a broad set of predictors of death—like age, smoking habits and mobility—with the length of telomeres, DNA sequences that generally shrink with age.

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